Thursday, January 03, 2008
THAI NATION IN MOURNING, POLITICS CAN WAIT
he political divisions in the Kingdom have been set aside, after the sad news of the passing of His Majesty's elder sister, Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana, in the early hours of January 2, at the age of 84.
A much beloved member of the Royal Family, Princess Galyani was known for her good works and deeds for her country, and as the patron of a great many charities and foundations. She was a tireless promoter of both human and animal welfare, and championed landmine removal programs, rural development, volunteer doctors, assistance to children in poverty, and much more.
Like her younger brother, she was a dog-lover and raised 89 of man's best friends during her lifetime. One of her foundations provided medical care for pets of low income families as well as homeless dogs, and she helped in setting up improved facilities for the Small Animal Hospital in Bangkok. The Elephant Hospital in Lampang was also under her patronage.
Even without knowing the full extent of her good works, the Princess always seemed to me to be simply a very, very nice lady.
She will be deeply missed, the elder sister of two kings, and the people are in mourning. Everyone today is wearing something black, and vendors of pink or yellow shirts have shifted to that colour. The mourning period has been set at 100 days. Her body will lie in state in Dusit Maha Prasart Throne Hall inside the Grand Palace, and prayers will be held day and night during this period. Civil servants and officials have been instructed to wear black for 15 days, during which time all government agencies, Thai embassies and consulates around the world will fly the flag at half staff.
A very nice pictorial presentation of her life is offered at the Nation, while the Post has more pictures and stories here. Both papers have much more on the Princess' life and times.
Politics can wait. The expected announcement today of minor parties' decisions on joining (or not joining) the proposed PPP government, is put off indefinitely. Some things are more important than political squabbles.